Dear United Church in Walpole,

God's Grace and Peace be with you! I'm thrilled to be selected as your candidate for settled ministry. I've had the privilege to read about your congregation, visit your church and community, and most importantly interview, fellowship, worship, and pray with your pastoral search committee. After each meeting with the search committee I went home with the distinct feeling that the Holy Spirit was at work in bringing us together. Something just clicked! I can't wait to see what God has in store for us when we join together in ministry and community.

My family and I are eager to meet you over the course of the Candidating Weekend (June 10-12). I know that all those gatherings and greetings will be a time for great celebration and I look forward to celebrating with you! I'm grateful to the search committee for their careful planning and hospitality that weekend, which will allow us to get to know one another just a little bit.

Of course, there will be so much more to learn about one another as our journey in ministry begins. That's why I plan to reach out to every single one of your 374 members and invite you to have a cup of coffee or pint of beer with me sometime during my first year of ministry. In the book of Acts we learn that the disciples of Jesus, following his example, practiced koinonia which sounds like a fancy religious word but back in those days just meant "common table fellowship," or people gathering around food and drink to seek out community for the sake of community. I pray that at each koinonia conversation we have, the Holy Spirit shows up and allows us to listen deeply to one another - maybe even share a few laughs!

After the Candidating Weekend, God-willing, my family and I will travel back to our tiny apartment in New York City and begin to pack up our home and our lives in order to make the journey to be with you all in Walpole. I have just one favor to ask you: will you pray for me and for the church? I promise to be praying for you. Transitions are times of joy but they can also be times of uncertainty and doubt. Let's be in prayer for one another and for our church as we boldly step into the future that God is calling us to.

I am humbled by this call. But above all I am excited to begin to serve you as your pastor and teacher.